By Seliphar Machoni
Dear African Girl,
You are strong. You are a warrior and will always be. I know you go through a lot. Gender Based Violence (GBV), discrimination, barriers to access to education, poverty, illiteracy and hectic African culture. All these things just make you stronger. As they say, what cannot kill you makes you even stronger. Above all, you rise up with a smile. You shine brighter than yesterday; you fight even harder for your space on earth—to be seen, recognised, respected, and given a chance to show the world what you can do.
You carry most of the leads as a girl, a lady and a mother. You are given little or no attention, but your actions speak louder than your words as they demand to be heard. Despite all the huddles, you have paved your way in government institutions, on graduation grounds, in professional opportunities and in the private sector. You have to stand tall to fight for your rights, space and opportunities. I know the fight isn’t an easy one, but you have to put on your fighting spirit.
Girl, there is no time to rest; the world is evolving, and you have to advance with the trend. Grab the opportunities; let the sky not be your limit. Let nothing, not even the new technology, hinder you from embracing it. As they say, what a man can do, a woman can do even better. Get out of your comfort zone and wipe those tears, daughter of Africa; it’s your time to achieve your goals. It’s your time to make it happen. Get into that office, apply for those jobs and fight for your space.
There are women in Africa who have gone out of their comfort zones and achieved what they wanted in life. Let’s look at Samia Suluhu of Tanzania. She is the president of Tanzania. What a prominent leader she is, leading with great respect and decorum. Lupita Nyong’o: an award-winning actress who has won international awards in the film industry, working hard to challenge societal norms societal norms. Let them motivate you to step up and work smart.
It’s not yet time to give up; face your fears with courage and let the world know your strength. The world is not ending. No one knows when it will end. Step out in style and make it happen. Little steps at a time, no hurry, but calculated moves and steps, and you will be in the position you have always dreamed of.
Giving up should never be an option; set a higher standard and raise the bar high. Write down your goals and work towards achieving them. I know it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but with consistency, you will be the light. As you wait for the world to celebrate you, celebrate yourself. Be proud of your little efforts. My mentor once told me to always learn to celebrate my achievements; it’s the best motivation you can give yourself.
Learn from others, girl. Importantly, learn from your mistakes and failures. They will teach you a lot and will help you stand strong. They will help you go back to the drawing board for a second trial. Let not your background, religious beliefs, your past, your country of origin, or the colour of your skin hinder you from achieving your goals, doing your best, having a better future, or from getting into your desired profession. Don’t regret making mistakes; it’s normal, and they do not define who you are. You are powerful; you are brave, you are fearless; you are strong and the force of Africa. You can make it happen with just a little effort; there’s no space for giving up. Keep trying girl. Let’s keep at it, together